As you have probably heard about by now, at The Social Brand, we break everything down into two categories – branding and marketing. To learn more about this breakdown and what this means, check out our blog on The Cycle of Promoting your Business by clicking here.
Branding is broken down into three major columns: market position, messaging and your brand’s look and feel.
In many cases, these three things are the difference between your brand getting to work with a certain customer and your competition getting to work with that customer.
Your Brand’s Messaging
Messaging is a lot more than the words on your website or what you say on social media. Rather, it’s the overall tone that you use and really, it’s how you set expectations of how your company will interact with your customers. I’ve found over and over again in working with brands that by adjusting your messaging is probably one of the most important things you can do.
Content is everything from the words, pictures and videos put out by your brand. Together, content makes up what we call messaging. It’s the common themes that are present in all of your content, in all of your photographs and videos.
Messaging is how you talk to your customers online and in-person. It’s probably the one thing that is the difference between you or your competition getting the sale. That’s why it’s so important. We’re really talking about the strategy about you project yourself and your brand into the world.
It’s how you tell your story and it’s how you connect with people you want to do business with. It’s also how you attract leads and good community partners.
Your Brand’s People
The first thing I tell people when we talk about messaging is that you have to start with your people. “Everything about business is social.” It’s our tagline here and I really, really believe it. I see it proven it over and over again working with brands. How can you decide the tone of your business or really even what to say when you have no idea who your people are? That’s why we recommend starting with your customer personas and really begin to understand who the people you want to work with are. Think about the following:
- Who are your people?
- What are they interested in?
- How do they talk?
- What are they attracted to?
- What’s their sense of humor?
- What other brands do they like?
- How do they dress?
- How do they present themselves to the world?
- What are their pain points?
If you’re doing business with a bunch of mama’s in the south – having a bit of a Southern twang to your messaging probably isn’t a bad idea. However, if you’re doing business with mainly Millennials who love clean lines and sarcastic humor – you know how to talk and you know how your imagery should look as well! See how easy this is?
A lot of people get caught up on this, too! “How will I know? Do you have resources you can recommend to learn this? What should I Google?!” Yes, I have a fabulous resource to recommend! Your customers! Take your clients out for a cup of coffee. Tell them, “Hey, I really like to do business with you. I’d like to do business with more people like you- do you mind if I take you out for a cup of coffee and ask you some questions?” (Most people will say yes, every time!) Or if you’re in a faster pace business – ask people questions as you check them out or as you deliver your products to them. Conversation is your most valuable tool in getting to know your people.
Once you’ve identified who your customer is, what’s important to them, what they respond to and what their pain points are – it should be fairly easy to choose the proper tone and voice for your business. Should you be:
- corporate and polished
- Southern twang
- family centric
- religious or spiritual
Once you’ve identified the proper tone of your brand, coming up with the correct messaging becomes a much easier process! Now, we know what perspective we’re telling your story. Of course, I’ll recommend “Building Your StoryBrand” by Donald Miller here because this book teaches exactly this. If you haven’t read it (or listened to the audiobook) do it now, trust me.
The Ideal Employee
The next tip we recommend when it comes to messaging is a mental exercise of constructing the ideal employee in your head. Answer questions such as:
- How do they dress?
- How do they present themselves to customers?
- How do they talk?
- How do they answer the phone?
- How do they interact with customers?
- What’s the tone of their voice as they talk to your customers?
- How do they answer questions?
- How do they deliver the product or service?
If you can construct this ideal employee in your head (or on paper), you’ve really identified your messaging guide! It’s as simple as that.
I hope this was helpful, but as always – if you have questions, reach out. That’s what we’re here for!
Victory Harbin is one of the owners of The Social Brand and is a content strategist. She helps people be smart about using content to get the best results to grow their business.